TorCHI  Toronto Region Computer Human Interaction

Designing a self-administered cognitive test that runs through a web-browser: Myth or reality?

  • 27 Jun 2012
  • 7:00 PM
  • Bahen Centre, 40 St. George St., Room 1200 (main floor)
COST: Free for ToRCHI members.  Join now for $20/year.  Students $10/year.
PRESENTER: Joanna McGrenere, Associate Professor at the Department of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia

ABSTRACT: It is well known that the Canadian population, like that of many developed nations, is aging. One unpleasant aspect of aging is that individuals face the ever increasing likelihood of experiencing cognitive decline as they get older. Today, screening for cognitive impairments such as Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias is conducted using paper-based tests and is administered by healthcare professionals in clinical settings. The average wait time for an in-depth diagnosis and consultation regarding cognitive concerns ranges between 6 and 24 months. Thus, innovation in cognitive testing is an urgent yet unmet need because of the growing demand for diagnostic services.

I am part of a multidisciplinary team of researchers and clinicians, including  neurologists, cognitive psychologists, and computer scientists that started down the path of creating Cognitive Testing on a Computer (C-TOC) a few years ago. Our goal is to design, develop, and implement a web-based computerized screening test for cognitive impairment that older adults will be able to take independently in the comfort of their own home. In this talk I will describe the current state of C-TOC and the ongoing research we are undertaking to make this assessment paradigm a reality. Emphasis will be on the human-computer interaction aspects of the prototype design and research. Beyond basic usability challenges, we are investigating the impact of both home-based interruptions and cultural design dimensions on test validity.  I will also reflect on the multidisciplinary challenges we are encountering in the C-TOC project.

BIO: Joanna McGrenere is an Associate Professor at the Department of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia. Joanna works in the area of human-computer interaction, where she is a pioneer in designing technology for people with aphasia, a cognitive disability affecting speech and language. More generally, she is an expert in interactive technology design for older users. Joanna is also a leader in the creation and evaluation of personalized graphical user interfaces that help users cope with the ever-increasing functionality available in software.  The scholarship of her work has been acknowledged with best paper awards at CHI, ASSETS, GI, and IUI, all major conferences in the area of human-computer interaction.  She is the inaugural winner of the Anita Borg Early Career Scholar award and was also a Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies Early Career Scholar. Most recently, Joanna received an Outstanding Young Computer Science Research Award from the Canadian Association of Computer Science. Joanna is a regular participant on conference program committees, such as ACM SIGCHI, and is an Associate Editor for the ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing.

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